Phishing refers to any website, online service, phone call or text message that poses as a company or brand that you recognize. Any contact like this is designed to convince you to hand over valuable personal details or your money, or download something that infects your computer.
The three terms are all plays on the word ‘fishing’, in that the cyber-criminals fish for potential victims by sending emails, social media messages or text messages or making phone calls with urgent messages in the hope of persuading someone to visit the bogus website.
Phishing, vishing and smishing are done in many different ways. In the end, the aim is always to trick you into thinking you’re giving up personal information or making payments with someone you can trust, such as your bank, a government agency or a business or brand name.
You may find a website pretending to be a well-known company, organisation or service. The aim of these websites is to convince you that you’re using a real online service so that you hand over your personal or banking details or send money.
Phishing emails encourage you to visit the bogus websites. They usually come with an important-sounding excuse for you to act on the email, such as telling you your bank details have been compromised, or claim they’re from a business or agency and you’re entitled to a refund, rebate, reward or discount.
How to Protect yourself
- Don’t assume anyone who’s sent you an email or text message – or has called your phone or left you a voicemail message – is who they say they are.
- If a phone call or voicemail, email or text message asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautious. Real banks never email you for passwords or any other sensitive information by clicking on a link and visiting a website.
- Make sure your spam filter is on your emails. If you find a suspicious email, mark it as spam and delete it to keep out similar emails in future.
- If in doubt, call your I.T. Support team immediately and DO NOT RESPOND or click on any links!
Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels are also used to direct you to a spoof website. Fraudsters create accounts that have similar usernames and profile pictures to official accounts to trick you into thinking you’re dealing with someone you can trust.
Your best defense against all intrusions and cyber threats is to have a comprehensive cyber-security plan that includes 24 x 7 network monitoring and instant helpdesk support for quick response.
Source- Action Fraud